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Evolution, a theory applicable to both the evolvement of species and music, although strongly debated between scientists and religious fundamentalists (sure, white metal was designed out of nowhere by an intelligent creator, please, we all know of its dark heathen ancestry). Now, forget for a moment the big picture and the survival of the fittest and let's have a look at the details, namely the details of the black metal family tree.
The black metal family has evolved from their primitive roots to a modern day sophisticated species of an almost academic nature. Looking down from the treetops towards the very roots we find the branches of the Swedish and Finnish scenes. Strong branches in their own sense and definitely of common ancestry, yet with distinctly different appearances and, like the Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens, successful mating of the two has proven difficult. Graveborne hence gives you a groundbreaking evolutionary finding, the missing link between Swedish and Finnish black metal.
By first appearance 'Through the Window of the Night' walks and talks like one would presume a Swedish/Finnish bastard would, bearing characteristic features of both. With both the distinctive tremolo-heavy guitar work of Dissection and Dark Funeral with its subtle ice-cold melodies and the razor sharp melancholic lines of latter day Behexen and Sargeist, Graveborne's output pays homage to the families' ancestry with a slight hint of Gorgoroth, whose genes are commonly found in the pools of both Sweden and Finland.
Digging deeper it becomes clear that 'Through the Window of the Night' not only manages the heirloom well but has evolved to an even higher species taking the Swedish/Finnish characteristics and merging them to a coherent piece of work without the differences ever becoming noticeable. In particular, the songwriting is extremely skilful. Each song has its distinct features without ever breaking the core. The core being the brilliant guitar work alternating effectively between tremolo-heavy Swedish influences and the hauntingly beautiful lines of Finland. Each song has a fundamental riff following the listener throughout the entire song, but is varied with subtle precision due to the double guitars to give variation sometimes leaning towards the primitive, sometimes being slightly more intricate.
Even when the tempo varies between slightly faster than doom metal and slightly slower than a grind fest, the soul of each song and the album as a whole is never lost. In the fashion of Dissection and Sargeist, pitch black melodies are masterfully interwoven in the riffs and hooks and the choruses are murderously effective adding further levels of variation, making for an album that is supposedly just that, an album to be listened to as an album.
The guitars being the driving force behind 'Through the Window of the Night' is well reflected onto the production where they dictate the direction of the music. The rhythm section does not embark on any adventures of their own but help the guitars spew forth their message.
In a similar fashion the classical style screaming black metal vocals float on top enhancing the music rather than becoming an instrument on its own, albeit being well performed and articulated. At a first glance the production may seem just about what you had expected, murky and messy, but beneath all the nuances are crystal clear letting forth all the subtleties allowing one to embrace the full experience. Just like the album as a whole it reaches excellency.
Graveborne's evolutionary findings will not likely make it to the bigger audiences, but for the connoisseurs of black metal in general and the Swedish and Finnish scenes in particular this is a must have. 'Through the Window of the Night' is simply a brilliant album, worthy the attention of everyone who eagerly awaits the next Behexen output and sheds a tear for the folding of Dissection.